#12DaysOfAnime – This year has seen the rise and fall of movements. All of which seek to destroy or defend values which may or may not change the current status quo in favor of doing what’s good. In recent years, one of these movements are in the field of robotics – artificial intelligence, androids and the like. What are the consequences of integrating androids into our current society?
To put a somewhat definite picture on what that world would look like, we can use the anime series Plastic Memories as a base. It is a show set on the distant future in which humans live alongside androids or robots that look like humans and carry human emotion, qualities and the like.
In this show, a company has made advancements and created the most advanced android model with the most human-like qualities compared to all of the other models prior to it.
However, these models can live for up to roughly nine years and four months. Once these models “expire,” it causes a system deterioration which implies that this model will suffer personality disintegration, memory loss and as a result, episodes of violent behavior.
How can we say that Plastic Memories is a legit basis for real world androids?
In Plastic Memories, the show explores the ethical issues that arise once androids are integrated into society and it does this in the personal level using the main characters, Tsukasa and his android partner Isla.
The show does a great way of exploring this futuristic world filled with androids since it put these characters under the roles of service employees under the same company that manufactures these androids.
Imagine working in a call center but instead of communicating via phone, you will be interviewing these people on how their “product” or android is faring, their bugs, and the plan in which they expire.
This would highly be possible or some other similar customer support service would be in place if a company did manufacture androids for the public market. A counseling/IT support team that would go door-to-door to make sure everything is fine in regards to your purchase.
Secondly, it is highly possible in the sense of android expiration.
Just as any other form of technology, androids will deteriorate whether physically or within its systems. As time passes, these internal parts will no longer be able to function as good as they did when they were first made. They will deteriorate and in the end, render the system or the hardware being run by said system to be useless.
These two points are the main reasons why I deem Plastic Memories as a close sample to what might happen in the near future filled with android technology.
The problem with androids made in human likeness
As the field of robotics advance every year, scientists all over the world are getting more cautious and have devised a draft for ethical codes to prevent humans abusing robots and vice versa.
This has been in common usage within the realm of science fiction but what we currently have as an ethical code for robotics are the following:
- A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law
You might think that this settles the debate for good, but really, it just gives rise to more problems. But programming a robot or android to follow these laws just presents conflicts to its capacity for intelligence.
For the first rule, there’s the conflict in regards to androids that would be employed in civil service or in the armed forces wherein they would have to injure a human being to serve their purpose.
Programming the concept of morality, fairness and justice in a robot is huge complication. Even we, humans, get conflicted in determining who should we spare and who should we condemn to the death – how much more these androids created in our likeness.
The second rule would give rise to robots’ “rights.”
Having an android understand the difference between an order and a request presents so many complications. Seeing as these androids would be carrying human-like qualities, there is chance for these machines to disobey orders when their artificial intelligence processing questions the order given to them.
So really, are we creating androids to benefit ourselves? Or are we merely asking for a means of our own downfall as these androids question our concepts, theories and logic – thus, deeming us as undesirables to their standards.
The ethical complications of expiration
This whole “expiration” concept would be similar to how we view death. The fear of dying would also be felt by these androids but the pain in that is their shorter lifespan of roughly nine years, in the case of Plastic Memories.
We would, then, put a significant value to android life – something that seems ridiculous when we talk about it in this era but this will eventually be a great issue.
There would be a motivation to provide some form of “treatment” for these androids to live longer lives as much as we have healthcare and our medicine to get our health better.
In the show, there is also the concept of personality deterioration which results to violent behavior as these androids expire since their internal parts will not be up to speed in order to support their advance artificial intelligence.
Thus, a human having his or her android partner – developing attachments to these androids and seeing them turn into mindless zombies capable of great harm is twisted and cruel to see.
Imagine if a person had an android wife and they had to replace her in nine years, thus having to manufacture a somewhat-different version of his wife – would this android be the same “wife” that the client had spent his time and affection with?
The prospects outweigh the risks
Although, the matter does seem bleak as I say it, there is promise in this field. These problems need an extensive period of time for study by both lawyers, ethicists, and scientists working in the field of robotics.
Once we fully resolve the problems, both stated and not above, we will not only advance in technology but as well as our understanding of social behavior as we dive into the realms of human psychology, social behavior being applied to androids.
We could either succeed and advance our entire race or fail and be destroyed by our own works.
What do you think? Would you like to avail an android in the near future to keep you company? Or are you fearful of this technology?
Anyways, thanks for reading the second entry for this year’s twelve days of anime. Be sure to check out stuff related to this ani-blogging challenge by searching #12DaysOfAnime on Twitter. Make sure to share your thoughts on this article and I will try to respond.
While I am at it, try reading some entries from my pals from OWLS. For the month of December, we are discussing about the portrayal of warmth in our favorite titles so be sure to check them out!